Why should you leave a gift to charity in your Will?

25 January 2023
Louise Holmes, Associate Solicitor

Most people will be touched by a charity at some point in their life. Whether you have been supported directly by a charity yourself, or have seen a charity support a friend or relative, it’s easy to see the impact that charities can make on our lives.

But are you aware of the advantages available should you decide to say thank you to your favourite charity by leaving them a gift in your Will?

In this article we have partnered with Joanne Walton, Fundraising and Communications Manager at Platform for Life to look at the impact on both you and the charities.

Joanne Walton

Benefits to Charities:
Gifts in Wills, also known as legacies, are a vital source of income for charities such as Platform for Life. They tend to be of a higher value than one-off donations and help charities with their long-term planning, especially if they’ve been notified of intent beforehand.

It is a little-known fact that without gifts in Wills, many charities in the UK would struggle to survive and with many anticipating a third of their total income to be lost as a result of Covid-19, charities have never needed our support more. With little or no government funding many charities rely heavily on donations and legacy payments from Wills as their main source of income. By remembering your favourite charities in this way, you’re ensuring that their good work continues, and that the charity is there for the next generation.

Last year people left more than £3 billion in their Wills to good causes, making up about a third of a charity’s voluntary income*.

*Source: Smee & Ford, Legacy Trends 2020

Benefits to you:
Leaving a gift in your Will can also provide significant benefits to you. Charitable donations in Wills are free from inheritance tax (IHT) and depending on the value of your gift can be a powerful tool in your IHT planning, which can significantly reduce the value of any IHT bill on your death.

Supporting your chosen charity during your lifetime is one thing but making a statement that you’re going to support them after you are gone can really deepen the bond between you and your cause.

Will Statistics

The proportion of people leaving a gift in their Will is increasing, from 12% in 2007 to 16% in 2017.

Each year legacies left in Wills provide more than £3bn to fund charities’ vital work.

On average, people remember 3 charities in their Will.

Platform for Life
Platform for Life offer free, accessible, community based mental health and wellbeing services such as counselling, play and art therapy to low-income families (adults, young people and children) in Chester.

There’s a strong link between poverty and poor mental health and Platform for Life support those in this situation who are struggling with their mental health.

Their focus is on strengthening family relationships and creating more stable and nurturing environments for children. They take a holistic approach and recognise that parental trauma and adversity can have a profound impact on children. This means they sometimes work with a parent to affect change and make a difference for a child. Their aim is always to help bring about a positive change for the client and by association, their family.

Four Great reasons to leave a gift in your Will

  1. A gift for the next generation: We all hope to leave the world a little better than we found it. Perhaps you’d like to ensure that the support your charity offers is still there for your children and theirs to come. A gift in your Will is a great way to enable a charity to continue its work.
  2. Reduce your inheritance tax: A gift to charity is free from inheritance tax and if you leave more than 10% of your entire estate to charity then the total amount of inheritance tax you pay reduces from 40% to 36%.
  3. Keep a memory alive: Many people choose to leave a gift to a charity that was important to a loved one, this is a great way to remember them.
  4. You may live longer: Research shows on average you will live eight years longer if you leave a legacy.

Every gift in every Will, however large or small, makes a difference, small percentage in your Will, even 1%, can make a huge difference.

If you want to leave a gift to charity but have already made a Will, there are a number of options open to you:

  1. You can either create a new Will – probably the simplest way or
  2. Write a codicil – which is a document used to change a Will that has already been made.

If you would like a free initial consultation with a member of the Wills & Probate team simply click on the “Speak to Our Experts” button on this page, call us on 01244 729 073 or email info@cullimoredutton.co.uk

Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.